Is buying a home a good idea in November and December?

Posted October 10, 2014 by sandyluedke
Categories: Buying a Home, home selling, homeowner tips, Mortgages, realtor opportunities, Uncategorized

thanksgivingAs the holiday season approaches, based on my years of experience, the months of November and December are great for home buyers. The reasons for this appear to be:

  1. There are fewer buyers – with all the things going on around the holidays many buyers are simply too busy to focus on finding a home.
  2. Fewer buyers mean Sellers may be willing to deal – when homes stay on the market during the holiday season that indicates the seller is very motivated to close quickly.
  3. I find sellers are more willing to pay closing cost and leave items (like refrigerators) as part of the transaction.

So, if you are looking for a home during the holiday season, be sure to contact me and we will find the best place at the best price.

Are you Taking Advantage of Referrals?

Posted May 13, 2014 by sandyluedke
Categories: Buying a Home, home selling, homeowner tips, Mortgages, realtor opportunities, Uncategorized

How do you handle a referral? When someone gives you the name and contact information of a potential client, do you have a process? If you don’t, there’s a good chance you’re not going to take advantage of the referral.

Your Personal Network

Your Personal Network

Sometimes referred to as a “warm lead”, a referral is not an automatic sale. You must manage and nurture the potential client to prevent them from becoming another name in your client list. Here are five tips recently offered by Zillow.com to turn a referral into a client.

  1. Arrange an Introduction

Try to set up a meeting where the prospect, the person giving the referral, and you can meet face to face. Having everyone together is a great way to create trust, get to know one another and generate rapport which is the foundation for a strong working relationship.

2. Do Your Homework

Once you’ve met the referral, set up a time to discuss exactly what the prospect is looking for and how you can be of service to them. By understanding their “wants” and “needs” is a critical first step in determining exactly how you can best present solutions to meet those wants and needs.

Dig deep, many times people don’t know exactly what they really need or want, but they know what they don’t want. Build a picture for them. Be sure to ask follow up questions regarding what they’ve told you to help explain why they want a specific option or service. “Why is that?” or “Please explain?” are great ways to find out the why behind the want.

3. Assume Nothing

When you receive a referral, the referrer may try to tell you everything they know about the prospect. Don’t rely on this information as the only information you depend on as you move forward. You must get to know the prospect personally. Your relationship may well be completely different than that of the referrer and the prospect may respond completely differently in the context of your dealings.

  1. Don’t Overwhelm Your Contact

It is human nature to want to give the prospect everything they will need to make a decision right at first, but many times this will run them off. We want them to be well informed but remember too much at once can overwhelm and frustrate potential clients. Introduce important information each time you meet with them.

  1. Let Your Personality Shine

It’s quite likely that you received a warm contact through someone that knows you, or at least knows of you. They referred you for two primary reasons: your professional ability and your likability. You can prove your professional mettle in a number of ways — defining wants and needs, educating your client on the local market, and demonstrating your expertise in the buying/selling process. Showing your personality is sometimes more difficult than proving professionalism. It’s important to do though, as people want to work with someone they like. As a real estate pro, you’re used to reading people and understanding what makes them tick. Use that skill to “break the ice” early in the process. While you can’t force someone to like you, making an effort to be personable can pay huge dividends.

Once you’ve taken care of the referral, remember to take care of the referrer. You don’t have to fill them in on every single aspect of what you’ve done for the referral, but a few key points will help strengthen your relationship, especially if you tell them how much they have helped you succeed. Of course be sure to reciprocate with a good quality referral. Building your referral network will do more for your long term success than any advertising campaign.

When does a Buyer’s termination option really end?

Posted April 17, 2014 by sandyluedke
Categories: Buying a Home, home selling, homeowner tips, Mortgages, realtor opportunities, Uncategorized

In a recent blog post on the Texas Association of Realtors web site, asked this very question. When does a Buyer’s termination actually end?

ContractMany Realtors say the deadline is 5:00 PM of the last day of the contract but in actuality “TREC contracts and addenda do not specify a time-of-day deadline.” Further the post commented “The language of the termination-option provision allows for termination at any time within a specified number of days after the effective date of the contract. Therefore, a buyer may provide the notice to terminate up until 11:59 p.m. of the last day of the termination-option period.

The best thing to do, of course, is for all parties to avoid last-minute compliance with performance-of-contract obligations or requirements whenever possible to avoid controversy.

It must be noted that the blog has a legal disclaimer (which is repeated here for convenience):

“The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.”

“While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on TexasRealEstate.com. Any legal or other information found here, on TexasRealEstate.com, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.”

To read the comments about the TAR article click on

https://www.texasrealestate.com/advice-for-texas-realtors/article/what-time-does-the-option-period-actually-end

Finding Design Help on the Web

Posted April 14, 2014 by sandyluedke
Categories: Buying a Home, home selling, homeowner tips, Mortgages, realtor opportunities

You’ve lived in your home now for many years and its time to start making changes to make it more livable. Where do you go to start your design plans? This article introduces you to a couple of my favorites.

The first site to check out is Houzz.com.

Houzz.com offers great articles, idea books, Advice and weekly e-zine.  Design ideas vary from landscaping to building. This site is very visual. Every article is packed with images of finished projects. It is the perfect place to see what others have done. Check out an example article.

Ella Decor

Ella Decor

Another excellent design site can be found at ElleDecor.com. This site, like Houzz.com, has an eclectic array of ideas, concepts and examples. A word of warning, ElleDecor is much more of a typical web site with more advertizing but it delivers when it comes to Desgin and Decorating concepts.

These are just two of the many web sources to help you design that perfect yard, kitchen, or room. Check back regular for more home ideas.

Check List for a Better Spring

Posted April 3, 2014 by sandyluedke
Categories: homeowner tips, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Time to take care of the yard.

Time to take care of the yard.

Now that we’ve finally reach Spring, it’s time to start preparing the house for both indoor and outdoor activities.  Laura Gaskill recommends things like cleaning off the lawn furniture, fix and patch the house. Check out her entire list:

1. Set up outdoor furniture. If you haven’t yet gotten the outdoor furniture out of storage, now is the time. Give everything a good cleaning, and go shopping for new pieces as needed. Wish you had an outdoor dining area or place to sit with a good book? Jump on the project now so that you have all season to enjoy using it.

2. Tune up lawn mower and gas grill. Make sure all of your outdoor equipment is in working order. Stock up on the types of fuel you will need to run your lawn mower and gas grill. If you have a reel lawn mower (i.e., a push mower), take it in to have the blades sharpened.

Lawn Care

Lawn Care

3. Clean siding. Wash the exterior of your house to remove road salt and grime that has accumulated over the winter. Use a pressure washer or a regular hose with a cleaning attachment, depending on the type of siding.

4. Check fences, driveway and paths for damage. Particularly for regions that experience freezing and thawing conditions, driveways and paths can become cracked over the winter. Take a walk around your home, looking out for signs of damage on the driveway and walkway, as well as the foundation, fences and gates. Schedule repairs as needed.

5. Refresh your mantel. Take everything off your mantel, and wipe down the surface. Bring in something fresh and green — potted ferns, blooming bulbs or cut branches will last longer than cut flowers. If you have a mirror hanging above the mantel, clean it as well. Add a few scented or plain beeswax candles as a finishing touch.

6. Celebrate Earth Day by going greener at home. Commit to making lasting changes to go greener this year by adopting a few easy new habits:
• Trade paper towels for a stack of washable dish cloths
• Use real napkins instead of paper
• Swap out your cleaning products for natural methods
• Check out a local farmer’s market for fresh produce
• Shut off lights when you leave the room

7. Clean windows. Boost natural light throughout your home by cleaning the windows, inside and out. If you have second-story windows, either hire a service to clean the outside or use a hose attachment to clean them yourself (while standing safely on the ground!).

8. Have air conditioning serviced. If you use air conditioning and haven’t had it serviced yet this spring, now is the time. If you use window air conditioning units, change the filters before installing them.

9. Bag up some giveaways. Simplify your life this spring by getting excess stuff out of your home (and out of your way). Grab some boxes or sturdy bags, and aim to fill at least one per room with items to give away, sell, recycle or toss. Your home will feel so much lighter, it’s worth the effort!

10. Rotate artwork. If you love collecting art prints and paintings, you know how easy it is to run out of wall space long before you’ve hung all of your artwork. A simple solution is to rotate your artwork each season, keeping some pieces carefully stored in a closet.

11. Swap towels and bedding. Rotating linens with the seasons is an easy way to perk up your home, and it extends the life of your textiles. You can’t go wrong with classic white towels and sheets, but if you are looking for something a little different this spring, why not pick a bold color instead?

Take care of these things and your Spring and Summer will be so much more enjoyable and healthy.

Selling your home – how do you set your price?

Posted March 20, 2014 by sandyluedke
Categories: home selling

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Selling Home - Real Estate in DFW, pricing to sell, Sandy LuedkeIt’s the first day of spring, and a good time to plant that For Sale sign in the yard. Selling your home wasn’t a snap decision, and you’ve thought long and hard about your next move, but there’s one thing left to do – name your price. Do you list high to ward off tire-kickers, or list low in the hopes of a bidding war? What determines your price anyway?

Obtaining the help of a seasoned real estate agent (like me, Sandy Luedke!) will go a long way in getting you and your home prepared for that winning offer. Here are some questions you should ask your realtor, and they should have a ready answer for you:

  • What is the difference between list and sales prices?
  • What are the two most important factors when selling a home?
  • When is the best time to buy?
  • What is the difference between market value and appraised value?
  • What is the difference between list price, sales price and appraised value?
  • How does someone sell a slow mover?
  • How is the price set?
  • What are the standard ways of finding out how much a home is worth?
  • How do you prepare a house to sell?
  • Where do I get information on housing market stats?
  • How do I handle a low offer?

Answers to these questions and more are also available on Ideal Real Estate Group’s Resource Page for Home Sellers, in the article titled Pricing to Sell.

Contact us at any time and let us answer any real estate questions you have, and let us help you through the transition of selling your home.

How to prepare your home to sell for top dollar

Posted March 13, 2014 by sandyluedke
Categories: home selling

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Flower Mound Realtor, Selling Your Home in Flower Mound, Texas Real EstateYou stopped noticing your cracked driveway over a year ago, and the broken light fixture on your front porch has been long forgotten. Pet owners are not immune from it either – “normal” odors they are no longer sensitive to could be a big turn off for prospective home buyers. When something has been a part of our lives for so long, details that stick out like a sore thumb to anyone else can become invisible to us.

When it comes time to sell your home, you want to make it as attractive as possible to your ideal buyer. This means you want to prepare the space in such a way that they can easily see themselves being happy and worry free within the walls of your home.

To do this, it would be wise to hire someone to stage your home for you. If that isn’t an option, clear your mind and do your best to look at your home like a prospective buyer. Is there clutter on the counter? This would immediately put the thought of having to ‘clean the place’ in the mind of the person looking to buy, which will put a mark in the negative column regarding the home tour.

Are the carpets stained? Are the walls too bare or too bold? These are also considerations of buyers when looking at homes. They typically don’t want to be saddled with the need to immediately repaint purple walls or install new carpet. That alone could cause them to turn away without making any kind of offer on the home.

Another topic that is touchy for some home owners is that of family pictures. We love our family, and many of us decorate our home with years of photos that tell the story of our life. However, when selling your home, being surrounded by a ‘strangers life’ can subconsciously create tension that might block a prospective buyer from feeling like this could be their family’s new home, since it so clearly belongs to someone else. For better results, replace family photos with inviting landscapes, seascapes, mirrors, and nature prints.

If you are able to afford it, be sure to take care of any major repairs or updates that could deter a buyer from making an offer on your home. This includes:

  • Replacing any broken windows
  • Replacing a leaky roof
  • Fixing cracked driveways, sidewalks, and walls
  • Update old or outdated appliances, cabinetry, and/or flooring

It is also important to work on your home’s curb appeal. Remove any weeds, dead plants, bushes and/or trees to make your landscape look pristine. Make sure the grass is green and maintained, and plant a few annual flowers in noticeable spots near your front entryway. It is also appealing to plant greenery and flowers in decorative outdoor pots that can later be moved. These can be placed along the sidewalk, by your driveway, or set by the front door.

For a few other quick fixes that don’t cost a lot of money but can help you get top dollar for your home, be sure to visit our Ideal Real Estate Group’s Website. Go to the Seller’s Resource Page and see our article on Common Questions and Answers about Selling Your Home.

As an expert real estate agent in the Dallas / Fort Worth area for over two decades, I can help you make sure your home looks its best when buyers come knocking, so contact me, Sandy Luedke, today and we’ll get started on selling your home for top dollar!


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